According to the information given through a research, all those who sleep less or are sleepless in the night are more prone to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“This research provides new insight about the potentially harmful effects of a lack of sleep on the brain and has implications for better characterizing the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” said researcher George F. Koob.
To understand the possible link between beta-amyloid accumulation and sleep, the researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the brains of 20 healthy subjects, ranging in age from 22 to 72, after a night of rested sleep and after sleep deprivation (being awake for about 31 hours).
They found beta-amyloid increases of about 5 percent after losing a night of sleep in brain regions including the thalamus and hippocampus, regions especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid is estimated to increase about 43 percent in affected individuals relative to healthy older adults. It is unknown whether the increase in beta-amyloid in the study participants would subside after a night of rest.
The researchers also found that study participants with larger increases in beta-amyloid reported worse mood after sleep deprivation.
It is also important to note that the link between sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s risk is considered by many scientists to be “bidirectional,” since elevated beta-amyloid may also lead to sleep disturbances.